Photography

Photography and Me

The kid next door introduced me to photography the summer I turned 10.  We used his camera to take and develop b/w photos of everything we saw.  That winter my parents caved in and bought the Tower 120 mm twin reflex camera that I found in the Sears catalog.  With that trusty 120 I learned to photograph subjects near and far, fast and still, light and dark.

The next winter I read a novel about a young man who was a wildlife photographer.  What timing!  I thought that story had set the course for my life.  But life takes its turns and in time, photography became so familiar to me that my interest transferred from photography to the subjects.  In college I studied vegetation ecology and landscape dynamics and used photographs as a documentary tool.  Like every other snapshooter out there, I became a documentary photographer.

After college the old Bogen tripod given me by my friend George Ballard, supported a succession of cameras and lenses.  Thousands of students at the University of Utah, Columbia University, and UCLA saw the slides.  Two books and numerous technical articles in academic journals and conference proceedings contain examples of the b/w work.

In 2004, I sold all my fabulous Zone VI darkroom equipment that had been funded by the U. S. Justice Department, gave away my Nikon, and switched to digital photography.  I am happy with the change, but a little sad for the tiny tics of memory on the thousands of b/w negatives and color slides that are sitting in dusty cardboard boxes awaiting eventual disposal.  [Here’s some news.  In January, 2015 I began scanning slides and by March had gone through about 2,000 of the Kodachromes.]

I selected the photos included here from the 50,000 or so taken since 2003.  They have some documentary value, but mostly they are just pretty or interesting.  I suppose that I am following the same impulses that motivate curators of all kinds to share their collections with others:  I hope you like the pictures.

Dates and Formats

My photos from before 1973 are scattered, and I have none of the negatives.  From 1973 through 2003, I photographed on 35mm b/w and Kodachrome.  After 2003, everything is digital in numerous formats.  The photos here are all JPEGS with minimum compression.

Garden Flowers

For almost 15 years, I succumbed to a weakness for large flowers and planted thousands of seeds, bulbs, and transplants around my house.  Dave, Denise, Michael, Monti, and Velita helped.  I’ll begin with the daffodils.

Other Subjects

  • Landscapes
  • Wildlife

Recent Posts

Postscript: The Time is Growing Short

POSTCRIPT
I published the blog post below in 2017. It discusses a scientific analysis and climate-change warning published in the journal Nature.
The critical element of the scientists’ conclusion was the absolutely necessity to begin immediately reducing CO2 emissions. Progress was pinned to six milestones that had to be reached by 2020. Here we are in 2020. Unfortunately, global CO2 emissions increased in 2018 and 2019 and none of the six milestones was reached. Likewise, the other disasters I mentioned are continuing to accelerate. The likelihood that human civilization will continue to progress and flourish in years to come is perhaps exactly equal to the number of times “biodiversity” or “global wildlife extinction” has been mentioned in the Democratic presidential debates: Zero. But who knows? Perhaps this year’s weather will provoke a massive mobilization similar to what it took to combat the Nazis.

[Alfred E. Neuman said “What, me worry?” — perhaps he was our spokesperson after all, eh Joe?]

The 2017 Blog Post

GR [in 2017]:  An article from June, 2016 should be on everyone’s mind now. Here’s my discussion followed by a link to the article.

A group of scientists analyzed the sources of CO2 and the dynamic relationship between the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere and global temperature to devise a global carbon budget they could use to assess the effect of timing of changes in CO2 emissions. The analysis enabled them to calculate the changes we must make to preserve a livable climate. You’ll have to read the article to see the individual sources of CO2 that must be adjusted. I wanted to mention the timing for the budget. The analysis shows that if CO2 emissions begin to fall immediately and reach zero in 30 years, we will remain within the global warming limits set by the Paris treaty. After the flat emissions of 2014, 2015, and 2016, the authors believed that the fall in emissions was ready to begin. This is good, because their budget shows that if we wait to 2020 to start tapering off CO2 production, we only get 20 years to reach zero emissions. If we wait to 2025, we get less than 10 years to reach zero. Transforming our energy use that quickly would be impossible.

SO, how are we doing. Six months after the analysis was published, we find that 2017 emissions have gone up, not down. Lot’s of positive changes have begun, but we have to wait to see what happens in 2018. If we begin to taper off CO2 emissions by 2020, we will have 20 years to reach zero emissions. I suggest you take a look at the six milestones the authors believe must be reached by 2020. Then you can monitor the world’s progress toward painful climate change (the Paris treaty) or disastrous climate change (with too many storms, fires, heat waves, and rising seas).

Climate change is just one of the approaching disasters. Human population and its impact is growing, wildlife species are going extinct at incredible rates, freshwater supplies are dropping, and toxic wastes are building up. If we can’t do much more than take our CO2 emissions to zero over the next 20 years, most of the diversity and beauty of life on Earth will disappear.

Christiana Figueres and colleagues set out a six-point plan for turning the tide of the world’s carbon dioxide by 2020. NATURE.COM
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